Did you know that for next few weeks it is “banned books week?” Well, I admit that I did not know this, but recently came across this information coincidently after being challenged and questioned as to why I was reading Harry Potter to my fourth graders. I was politely asked to stop reading the book to my students but was also given a mini lecture on why I am not upholding the first amendment of the constitution of separating church and state. I was a little taken back because I absolutely had no intention on causing a constitutional debate or disrespecting the very document that provides me with my freedoms. Well…to be completely honest… I did have to hold back a little from rolling my eyes. I took the high road though. I smiled and was very professional, but I thought to myself… really?? I am an accomplished teacher and well-respected educator in my school, community, and district. Am I really still not trusted?
Reading books to my students is one of my most favorite parts about being a teacher. I enjoy celebrating the freedom to read with them. Matter of fact, I help foster a deep understanding with my students to respect diversity in my classroom and respect the United States Constitution, (which I found myself actually having to explain.) I also actually had to convince this person that I am not a witch and I do not teach witchcraft oh and…by the way I also do not belong to a cult (just a few of the assumptions made by the person who challenged me.) Anyways… I love being a teacher but boy oh boy some days are just rough, this was a rough day. I guess I won’t be reading Harry Potter anymore. What a bummer.
I have chosen to read the book to my students because I believe it is a book that sparks the imagination and wonder in children of all ages. It is also a book that gets kids excited kids to read! I believe the Harry Potter series is an example of rich literature. The book provides an opportunity for adults and children to share a common interest and engage in conversations about the characters, experiences and share personal connections that they experienced as they were reading. How many things do adults and kids have in common anyways? Truly? This book changes that. I love having conversations about Harry Potter with my students. It is a remarkable story and in my opinion, harmless. But I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion… at least the constitution says so.
HARRY POTTER FACTS (Just for fun!)
- · Harry Potter is not technically a banned book on the "banned book list" according to the American Library Association, but it is merely a “challenged book.” http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek/index.cfm
- · According to the ALA the Harry Potter book is number 1 on the top 100 banned/challenged books along with other titles such a The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, The Giver, and Captain Underpants!